Tehelka.comArchive.tehelka.comtehelkahindi.com tehelkafoundation.org criticalfutures.org

Search for archived stories here...


From Tehelka Magazine, Vol 6, Issue 6, Dated Feb 14, 2009
CURRENT AFFAIRS  
rabble-rousers

‘When I Ask Them To Rise And Protect Our Hindu Culture, They Obey Me’

Yogi Adityanath, 37
BJP MP FROM GORAKHPUR, UP

NUMBER OF CASES: 2
RIOTING, DISTURBING HARMONY

Cover Story
Photo: AP

EYES CLOSED in exhaustion, hundreds throng the Gorakhnath temple, their mouths mumbling prayers and fists scrunching bits of paper. The queue is headed not towards the revered shrine but to the air-conditioned office where a saffron-clad Yogi Adityanath sits. He collects the crumpled and sweaty chits his devotees bring and promises deliverance. The assurance is grounded not so much in his holiness but in the Hindu predominance he vows to bring about.

Yogi Adityanath, head priest-apparent at the Gorakhnath mutt in east Uttar Pradesh, is a BJP MP from Gorakhpur and a Hindu leader of clout. “When I speak, thousands listen,” he says. “When I ask them to rise and protect our Hindu culture, they obey. If I ask for blood, they will give me blood.” To channel these energies, he founded the Hindu Yuva Vahini, a radical and violent group consisting mainly of unemployed youth and small-time criminals who pledge to serve “Yogiji” and destroy his enemies: the non-Hindus. “I will not stop till I turn UP and India into a Hindu rashtra,” says Adityanath. He does accept Muslim votes, but only after they have been “cleansed with Gangajal”.

For more than a decade, Adityanath and the Vahini have been accused of turning Gorakhpur and its neighbouring districts into a simmering communal cauldron. Calling himself the next Narendra Modi, Adityanath has repeatedly threatened to turn Gorakhpur into Godhra and UP into Gujarat. Driving through Muslim-majority pockets like Azamgarh with sword-brandishing youth screaming his name, Adityanath unleashes the infamous firepower that has provoked massive Hindu-Muslim violence. While he swears he will “eliminate the Muslim population in UP”, he claims he has another plan for Christians. In October 2005, he led a ‘purification drive’ in the district of Etah, converting 1,800 Christians to Hinduism. Earlier that year, he had converted 5,000 Dalit Christians in the same district.

The Yogi takes pride not only in his oratorical skills but also in what he calls his “clear code of right and wrong”. “Being Muslim — right. Being Muslim in India — wrong,” he says. “Terrorism — wrong. Hindus hitting back at Muslims for terrorism — right.”

He believes there is no such thing as a Hindu terrorist and claims that any violence by a Hindu is only done in selfdefence. In November 2008, when the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad announced it will interrogate a “highprofile person” in UP in connection with last September’s bomb blasts in Maharashtra’s Malegaon town, Adityanath brazenly appeared on TV news channels daring the Congress-led Centre to question him.

“A few arrests will not stop me,” he says. And they haven’t. Adityanath is said to have provoked over 20 incidents of communal violence. But there are only two criminal cases against him, one of which pertains to the killing of a gunman of a rival political leader from the Samajwadi Party at Maharajganj near Gorakhpur, in 1999. The second criminal case was registered when Adityanath and his Vahini laid siege to the town in January 2007, burning mosques, houses, buses and trains, claiming that the Gorakhnath temple had been attacked. Adityanath and 130 others were arrested on the spot. The District Magistrate, Hari Om, who ordered the arrests, was transferred out the next day. Today, the case lies cold and untouched. Says Adityanath, “God looks after me.” Hari Om counters, “The Yogi’s protectors are less powerful than God but more corrupt.”

ROHINI MOHAN

From Tehelka Magazine, Vol 6, Issue 6, Dated Feb 14, 2009
Related Stories


The Idea Of Indignation
Mobs are born out of dangerous ideas. In mapping the Mangalore pub attack SHOMA CHAUDHURY tracks the underlying psychology of vigilantes across the country
SHOMA CHAUDHURY
Executive Editor, Tehelka

‘The Clouds Of Falsehood Cannot Forever Hide The Sun Of Truth’
Ram Rahim, 41
HEAD, DERA SACHA SAUDA
‘Malegaon Is A Jhalak. More Is Possible If Every Woman Picks Up Bombs’
Pramod Muthalik
PRESIDENT, SRI RAMA SENE
I’m Working For Maharashtrians. I Will Not Let Outsiders Flourish At Our Expense’
Raj Thackeray, 40
FOUNDER AND PRESIDENT, MAHARASHTRA NAVNIRMAN SENA
‘I Don’t Have To Work Hard To Cause Mayhem. My Cadres Are Trained To Do It’
Lakhan Seth, 62
CPI(M) MP, TAMLUK, WEST BENGAL
‘The Government Thinks I’m Gathering Kashmir’s Women Against India’
Asiya Andrabi, 45
FOUNDER, DUKHTARAN-E-MILLAT
‘Do You Think I’m Just Another Fanatic Troublemaker?’
Asaduddin Owaisi, 39
LOK SABHA MP; LEADER, ALL INDIA MAJLIS-E-ITTEHADUL MUSLIMEEN
‘When I Ask Them To Rise And Protect Our Hindu Culture, They Obey Me’
Yogi Adityanath, 37
BJP MP FROM GORAKHPUR, UP
‘All Those Working Against The Hindu Religion’s Interests Are My Enemies’
Rabindra Pal Singh, 48
MEMBER, BAJRANG DAL
‘The Administration Cannot Suppress The Gun. I Can’
Lambodar Kanhar, 50
PRESIDENT, KUI SAMAJ, KANDHAMAL
‘It Is only In Our Own State That We Can Demand What Is Due To Us’
Narayan Gowda,
50 PRESIDENT, KARNATAKA RAKSHANA VEDIKE

Print this story Feedback Add to favorites Email this story


ADVERTISEMENT


ADVERTISEMENT


  About Us | Advertise With Us | Print Subscriptions | Syndication | Terms of Service | Privacy Policy | Feedback | Contact Us | Bouquets & Brickbats